Delving into The Real World

Courtney Fenech , Staff Writer

The four years of high school seem never ending to most students.  The stress, drama, and life-changing decisions during that time create a hectic routine that will seemingly last forever.  However, High School will end, and what you do when it is over is completely up to you.  Whether you take a gap year or embark on the long journey in search of a college degree, the future is unknown; yet, one thing is certain.  High school is not forever and is not a realistic representation of what the real world is like.  Matthew Freeman, a 2016 graduate of Allen High School, decided to take a gap year before going to college and feels his experience in the real world has been more enlightening than any high school or college classroom.  

Matt explained his high school career as something that never clicked with him.  Teachers not giving him freedom, the large amounts of studying, and the long hours of sitting in a classroom did not seem to be a beneficial use of his time.  When asked about how he would describe his high school experience he wondered aloud, “why would I go somewhere I don’t want to be?”  This free-spirited thinking led to his late decision to take a gap year and to try to get some real-world experience under his belt before delving back into the world of books.  Although this decision was tough at first, due to his acceptance to Collin College, Matt feels as though his decision, “has helped reinforce important life lessons, as well as show the large importance of responsibility.”  Due to the multiple jobs he has had since graduation, one as a waiter at a country club and another as a wine bar host, he has also learned how to stay accountable for his actions.  

Matt is excited to begin college next fall, but says that he, “will miss the extra time he has to just relax.”  Once school starts up again, he will be training for, and working his new job at the Apple Store, as well as taking classes.  “I feel like learning how to be more responsible during my time off will help me with my schedule next year.”  He also looks forward to the college experience because he now realizes that when you get to a certain age, especially by the time you are in college, there is less micromanaging by teachers.  However, he does not regret his choice to take a break and learn some real-world skills.

High school is a tough time for everyone, even if at times you feel alone in the struggle of getting good grades and dealing with the first years of being considered a young adult.  What comes after your four-year haul is a choice you make based on what kind of person you feel you are, just as Matt did when he went through the process of getting ready to walk across that stage to receive that elusive diploma.  When asked if he has any advice for the kids going through the same challenges he once did, he said, “taking a gap year is not for everyone.  If you are smart and ready, go straight to college.  But if you feel like you need a break, or you just don’t like school, take a gap year and see what happens.”  The real world awaits, and what you choose to do with the next phase of your life is life changing.